We already have among us LibreOffice 7.0. The new major version of the open source office suite (and free software) is ready to reinforce its position as the main alternative to Microsoft Office and as one of the best solutions in its segment.
LibreOffice 7.0 arrives with important new features and preceded by some controversy about the version aimed at end users, which was originally to be called “Personal Edition”. That aroused the concern of some about the alleged possibility that the free version of the suite could end up being castrated to give muscle to a paid version. Faced with the controversy generated, The Document Foundation made the decision to back down and keep the name of the version aimed at end users without a “tag.”
Leaving behind the controversies that have already been overcome, we are going to focus on the changes and novelties introduced in LibreOffice 7, which are many according to the official announcement of The Document Foundation.
The first thing that stands out is the implementation of the Skia engine, which “Is a library of 2D graphics open source that provides common APIs that work on various hardware and software platforms, and can be used to draw text, shapes, and images “. Its incorporation has been possible thanks to the collaboration with AMD, which lately shows quite a bit of ambition in its strategy around Open Source.
Second we have the Vulkan implementation. The next generation graphical API powered by Khronos Group has established itself as one of the mainstays of the GNU / Linux graphical stack, especially for gaming. In addition to the games ported to Vulkan, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it has become the engine that allows many Windows games to run with good performance thanks to the DXVK translators and the future VK3D3. Regarding LibreOffice 7, Vulkan brings an improvement in the efficiency of access to GPU resources while maintaining cross-platform support.
Support for document formats has also received changes in LibreOffice 7, both with regard to ODF (open standard and used by default) and OOXML (from Microsoft). The version in question of the suite implements support for ODF 1.3, which stands out for including new features such as “Digital signatures for documents and encryption of XML documents based on OpenPGP, improvements in areas such as tracking changes and additional details in the description of the elements on the first pages, text, numbers and graphics “. The ODF 1.3 specification has been made possible by donations received by The Document Foundation.
The OOXML document format is somewhat controversial, especially since many accuse Microsoft of breaking its own standard. However, this has not discouraged The Document Foundation from continuing to improve its LibreOffice support. In the seventh version of the open source suite we see yet another twist on improving OOXML support, from now on saving in the 2013/2016/2019 versions of Microsoft Office instead of the 2007, which should have an impact on better interoperability.
Delving a bit into at least the main applications, Writer, Calc, Impress and Draw, of the first one stands out an easy-to-use browser with more contextual menus, semi-transparent text support, display of online bookmarks (in-line) with the text and better handling of quotation marks and apostrophes; from the second the new non-volatile random number generation functions and the added keyboard shortcut for autosum; while third and fourth have gained semi-transparent text support, subscripts now return to the default value of 8% and the ability to generate PDF files larger than 500 centimeters.
On an aesthetic level, some changes have also been incorporated, such as a new icon theme for macOS users called Sukapura, a much improved icon theme for Windows called Neo Colibre and the Safir icon theme used by default in the version has been improved. for GNU / Linux.
As we see, LibreOffice 7 is willing to give everything to avoid missing the train in a segment that has a clear dominator, Microsoft Office. All the details of the new major version of the suite can be consulted through the official announcement and the release notes.
When it comes to downloading, Windows and macOS users have to go to the official website, while for GNU / Linux there are many ways. Ubuntu users and direct derivatives (Linux Mint, KDE neon …) can resort to this PPA and wait for it to arrive. For its part, in distributions rolling just wait if LibreOffice 7 is marked as an update in the end, because it can also arrive as a separate package / application.
In other distributions, you can choose to uninstall and download the Deb or RPM versions, but MuyLinux does not recommend this route because it does not allow you to receive updates automatically, which is a security risk. As an alternative, you can use the Flatpak version hosted on Flathub, which is official and does allow automatic updating. At the moment the seventh version is not available, but its publication is only a matter of time.